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Peer Support For Victim Advocates

What is Peer Support?

Peer support occurs among a community of peers; however, it is distinctly different from peer review. Most people working in the child advocacy field are familiar with Forensic Interviewing peer review, which allows forensic interviewers to examine sections of an interview and share suggestions with each other for better wording or practices. However, peer support groups are non-hierarchical with shared facilitation responsibilities. Peer support groups address commonly occurring challenges and provide a built-in support mechanism for a community of peers.

Victim support and advocacy services for children, their caregivers and other family members are critical for enabling them to pursue healing and justice.  The role of the victim advocate is central to the CAC’s response, ensuring victims and families access to, and participation in, investigations, prosecutions, treatment and other support services. Victim-centered advocacy is a discipline unto itself with a distinct role on the multidisciplinary team (MDT), one that offers many rewards and presents many challenges.  Given the multitude of serious responsibilities victim advocates assume, peer support is essential for the delivery of high-quality services, building/strengthening a community of practice with the MDT and other victim service providers, ongoing professional development, and personal health and well-being.


Peer support forums focus on a myriad of victim advocate needs including, but not limited to:

  • providing education, and personal and professional support;
  • developing and strengthening advocacy and team-building skills;
  • encouraging collaborative problem-solving;
  • sharing resources and referrals;
  • promoting efforts for effectuating change; and
  • developing self-care strategies for addressing vicarious trauma.

Adapted from Guidelines for a Vicarious Trauma-Informed Organization Peer Support, Vicarious Trauma Toolkit.